Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) won the 2023 Giro dell'Appennino on Friday, beating Arkéa-Samsic's Cristian Rodríguez to the line in a two-up sprint in Genoa.
Rodríguez had attacked at the base of the race's crucial and final climb, the Madonna della Guardia (9 km at 8%) and took a half-minute lead over the top. However, Hirschi narrowed the gap on the descent and then made the catch with 5km to go before picking off his Spanish rival in the sprint.
It was the Swiss rider's third victory of the season after recently winning a stage and the overall at the Tour de Hongrie.
Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) claimed the final spot on the podium, but mistakenly celebrated the win having not realised Hirschi and Rodríguez were up the road. He beat Francesco Busatto (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) in the dash for the line.
The 84th edition of the Italian one-day race measured 198.5km and took the riders over five climbs in the Appennine mountains that run up from the base of the country to Genoa in the north.
Six riders comprised the day's breakaway: Javier Serrano (Eolo-Kometa), Pablo Castrillo (Kern Pharma), Emanuele Ansaloni (Technipes #InEmiliaRomagna), plus three from Nice Métropole Côte d'Azur in Damien Girard, Andrea Mifsud and Maxime Urruty.
They built a lead of three minutes as UAE Team Emirates and Intermarché marshalled the peloton, before Castrillo launched a solo move on the day's third climb, the Crocetta d'Orero, with 75km to go.
He left his former companions floundering but was himself caught at the top of the penultimate climb, Bocchetta, with 40km to go, by which point the peloton was well reduced.
After a descent, it was straight onto the Madonna della Guardia, where Rodríguez attacked immediately and gained an impressive margin as the bunch shattered. By the top, he was 30 seconds up on Hirschi, who was chasing with Rodríguez's own teammate, Elie Gesbert. A group of around 10 riders were over a minute back and out of the picture.
Hirschi dropped Gesbert on the descent and reduced the gap to 20 seconds, before using the flat to make the junction with 5km to go. In the two-up sprint, the more decorated rider had the final say.
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